With science supporting the idea that being grateful is good for us, three personal stories illustrate the importance of the gift.
Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is in danger of becoming not much more than a starting gun for a race to the mall.
"We know there's a negative relationship between materialism and gratitude. That's pretty powerful right there," says Jeffrey Froh, a professor at Hofstra University on New York's Long Island. His research with more than 1,000 high school students showed that grateful teenagers were also less likely to be depressed, more likely to want to give back to their communities and more likely to have higher grade-point averages, among other traits.
But despite the benefits, gratitude is in trouble, says Robert Emmons, a UC Davis professor who has been studying gratitude since 1998 and is the author of the book "Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.
"Outside of happiness, gratitude's benefits are rarely discussed these days," he says. "Indeed, in contemporary American society, we've come to overlook, dismiss or even disparage the significance of gratitude as a virtue."
"We have become entitled, resentful, ungrateful and forgetful."
Not all of us, says the Chicago Tribune as they report on their search for people who have learned the importance of cultivating gratitude in their lives.